Boccia England

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TAG Boccia Month – A spotlight on GEM Boccia Club

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GEM Boccia club was started by Georgina Elizabeth Moore (GEM) in 2017. Georgina has Arthrogryposis which is a condition which causes joint contractures or curves in the joints. For Georgina this means she is a wheelchair user and cannot weight bare. This has never stopped Georgina and she is not the type of person who likes to sit around not doing anything. She likes to stay fit and healthy and take part in swimming.

In 2016, after watching Boccia at the Rio Paralympics, Georgina decided to try the sport. Using the club finder on the Boccia England website Georgina was able to find a club in Bristol. There were no clubs in South Gloucester for Georgina to join so she decided to travel to Bristol to give the sport a go.

Immediately she loved playing because it was competitive and she felt that throwing the balls was great exercise. Georgina was loving the sport and being part of the club in Bristol but after a few months the journey was becoming too much. Georgina decided now was the time to start her own club.

With support from Access Sport, Georgina was able to start GEM Boccia Club in 2017. Working with her local sports centre and borrowing boccia balls Georgina was able to get the club up and running with 11 people attending the very first session. Tom, Georgina’s carer, completed a Boccia coaching course and the sessions quickly became meaningful and allowed members to progress their skills.

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The club has people of all ages and abilities and the club ethos is “Inclusive to all”. The club regularly has non-disabled people taking part as everyone is welcome to join in and play. The numbers of people attending the club is still growing and now the club is able to provide fun sessions to a huge range of players.

This year GEM Boccia Club took part in the National Boccia League for the first time. The players all had an enjoyable day and gained a great experience from it. They are now looking forward to competing more in the future.

In 2018 GEM Boccia Club were nominated in the Boccia England awards. While they did not win the award the club were overwhelmed at being nominated and felt great to have had such a positive impact on their community.

GEM Boccia Club is now looking for more players and volunteers to help the club grow. If you would like to get involved in this club please contact Georgina on gembocciaclub@gmail.com.

Boccia England & CP Sport working in partnership

We are pleased to announce that earlier this year a partnership between Boccia England and Cerebral Palsy Sport (CP Sport) was established. The aim of the partnership is to increase opportunities for people with cerebral palsy to access local boccia opportunities.

CP Sport is the country’s leading national disability sports charity supporting people with cerebral palsy to reach their sporting potential. The charity provides opportunities to access disability sports such as; football, swimming, athletics, bowls, table cricket, and through adapted sports of RaceRunning, Frame Football and Touch Golf. They offer support to parents, support workers, teachers, coaches, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, sport providers and other professionals on how to adapt sports for people with cerebral palsy.

To find out more about the charity visit the CP Sport website

The partnership, amongst other actions, will see Boccia England supporting CP Sport SportStart Days and CP Sport sharing opportunities to get involved in boccia with their members.

A player’s perspective – Beth Moulam

Sport has been a big part of my life since I was 10. I first played boccia in the Surrey Youth Games in 2004 and discovered I was very competitive. Boccia became, and still is my passion, I’ve always wanted to medal at the Paralympics. For years I have trained hard, most weekends and several times a week. In 2015 I had a setback, I was throwing as a BC1 for England when due to a medical condition I could no longer compete. I’d worn skins for years to throw and when, due to severe overheating, I could no longer wear them I discovered I was unable to pick up a ball, never mind lift it.

It would have been easy to stop but instead I decided my dream need not end, I could still be a ramp player if I was re-classified. This took several months, but eventually I was classified as a BC3 athlete and my journey in the late summer of 2016 began again. What became clear was that I needed to dramatically improve my core strength and head control. My training regime has always included gym work and hydrotherapy as well as daily exercises, but I needed more.

Around this time I found RaceRunning and this has changed my life, I love it. My hands are still unable to manage a ball, but the rest of my body is dramatically improved by training 2-3 times a week. Last summer I competed in the CP Sport series and at the RaceRunning World Championships in Denmark where I got a bronze in the 60m and came 6th in the 100m (and with a broken hand). I’ve now been selected for the CPISRA World Games in San Cugat in August 2018. Week on week in training I am improving my training times and very hopeful for some PBs this coming season.

Meanwhile, I feel my boccia is going from strength to strength. I still do 2 PT sessions a week, boccia training and hydrotherapy but I have added in RaceRunning and the benefits are clear; I am stronger, fitter and healthier, I get cardio-vasular exercise so my stamina has improved, my core and range of movement means I am both more still on court but I can also reach awkward shots, and then my concentration, focus and mood are improved so is my attitude on court.

I recommend both sports; boccia is strategic and I really use my brain whereas RaceRunning in more physical so they complement each other. I’m still aiming to represent GB in 2024, the big challenge now will be in what sport!

TAG Boccia Month

The Arthrogryposis Group (TAG) has partnered with Boccia England, the National Governing Body for Boccia, to increase opportunities for its members to become more physically active through the sport of boccia. In June boccia clubs across England will be opening their doors and welcoming members of TAG to join them in the first ever TAG Boccia Month to give boccia a go!

Boccia is an action packed inclusive and sociable game. It can be played in a competitive situation or for fun with people of all ages and abilities. Hugely enjoyable and easy to learn, the idea of the game of skill and strategy is to throw your balls closest to the ‘jack’, the white ball, to win. Boccia can be played by people with any disability and it is ideal for athletes in either power or manual wheelchairs, as the main rule of the game is that players must remain seated throughout; ambulant players throw from a chair.

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The following sessions will be available throughout June.

  • YMCA East Surrey Boccia Club – Saturday 2nd June, 12:30pm – 1:30pm. The club is held at YMCA East Surrey, Princes Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH2 0QN. For more information contact Katie on Katie.Gatt@ymcaeastsurrey.org.uk.

  • Boccia Gateshead – Every Tuesday in June, 1:30pm – 2:30pm. The club is held at St Georges Church, 1-9 Inskip Terrace, Gateshead, NE8 4AJ. For more information contact Jenni on jenni@smilethroughsport.com.

  • Access Sport Henbury Boccia Club – Every Friday in June, 7pm – 8pm. The club is held at Henbury Leisure Centre, Avonmouth Way, Henbury, Bristol, BS10 7NG. For more information contact James on James.pink@irwinmitchell.com.

  • Nottinghamshire Boccia Club – Every Thursday in June, 6pm – 8pm. The club is held at Joseph Whitaker Sports Centre, Warsop Lane, Rainworth, NE21 0AG. For more information contact Pete on pge82@sky.com.

  • Greenbank Giants – Every Monday, 4pm – 6pm or every Tuesday, 12pm – 2pm. The club is held at Greenbank Sports Academy, Greenbank Lane, Liverpool, Merseyside, L17 1AG. For more information contact Pablo on greenbankgiants@gmail.com.

  • Uttlesford Boccia Club, Lord Butler Fitness and Leisure centre, Peaslands Rd, Saffron Walden CB11 3EG. Each Saturday in June, 9am – 10am. Contact is Daniel on uttlesfordbocciaclub@gmail.com.

  • Gem Boccia Club – Every Tuesday, 4pm – 6pm. The club is held at Yate Leisure Centre, Kennedy Way, Yate, Bristol BS37 4DQ. For more information contact Georgina on gembocciaclub@gmail.com.

  • If the sessions above aren’t right for you try the Boccia England Club Finder which will help you find your nearest Boccia club.

If you want to learn more about boccia and see it in action check out this video

England Talent Pathway Teams & Pairs Competition 2018

The Teams and Pairs Competition saw the England Performance Group (EPG) face off against teams and pairs from the five academies.

At the start of May 35 athletes from across the country descended on West Notts College in Mansfield for the return of the Team and Pairs Competition.

The five boccia academies, Scorpions, Hawks, Gladiators, Knights & Vipers had each selected and entered athletes to compete in the BC1/2 Team, BC3 Pair or BC4 Pair inter-academy competition.
There were a number of prizes up for grabs, with everybody wanting to get their hands on a medal. The academies were competing for the Academy Trophy and in the BC3 competition, they were playing for the Rachel Morgan Memorial Trophy.

Medals

In the BC1/2 Team competition:
The Gold medal went to England White - Reshad Saraj, Tia Ruel and Tim Hayes

Team Gold

Silver to England Red - Jasper MacCall, Will Hipwell and Jabe Peake

Team Silver

and Bronze to the Knights Academy - Jason Rolph, Amy Darlow and Caroline Robinson

Team Bronze

In the Pairs BC3 competition:
Gold went to the Scorpions Academy - Cecilia Turk and Cameron Coxall

BC3 Gold

Silver for England Blue - William Arnott and Rich Amos

BC3 Silver

And bronze for England White - Lewis Fisher, Matt Berry and Lee Maddison

BC3 Bronze

And in the Pairs BC4 Competition: England took the Gold - Penny Froude and Alfie Yates

BC4 Gold

The Hawks Academy took Silver - Aiden Robinson and Mitchell Robinson

BC 4 Silver

And the Vipers Academy took Bronze - Tom Armstrong and Oliver Crawshaw

BC4 Bronze

Taking home, the Academy Trophy and the Rachel Morgan Memorial Trophy was the Scorpions Academy

Rachel Morgan Trophy Winners

A huge THANK YOU to our volunteers that helped out on the day refereeing and timing.

Volunteers

We hope everyone had a fantastic day! The full results can be found on the Teams & Pairs Competition 2018 events page

Following the success of the competition we will look to host this event annually and continue to push the standards of our Teams and Pairs throughout the England Talent Pathway. For further information on how to access our academies please contact Dan Headley
dheadley@bocciaengland.org.uk

The BE Cup Finals 2018

The top BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4 players came together to compete for the title of champion in their relevant classes.

The competition took place at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield. Spectators were entertained by sme fantastic boccia at the venue and online through our streaming service.

A BIG THANK YOU to our team of volunteers!

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The competition results were as follows:

BC1

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  • Gold - Jabe Peake (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • Silver - Daniel Wain (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • Bronze - Caroline Robinson (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • 4th place - Luke Bate
  • 5th place - Alex Dukes
  • 6th place - Justin Allen
  • 7th place - Tia Ruel
  • 8th place - Holly Goodwyn

BC2

bc2medals

  • Gold - Reshad Saraj (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • Silver - Tim Hayes (Automatic Qualifier)
  • Bronze - William Hipwell (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • 4th place - James Clowes (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • 5th place - Zoe Robinson
  • 6th place - Amy Darlow
  • 7th place - Peter Langton
  • 8th place - Thomas Ferry
  • 9th place - David Hill
  • 10th place - Dan Bentley
  • 11th place - Jasper MacCall

BC3

bc3medals

  • Gold - William Arnott (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • Silver - Jess Hunter (Automatic Qualifier)
  • Bronze - Rich Amos (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • 4th place - Matt Berry
  • 5th place - Cameron Coxall
  • 6th place - Lee Maddison
  • 7th place - Cecilia Turk
  • 8th place - Lewis Fisher
  • 9th place - Lee Croker
  • 10th place - Beth Moulam
  • 11th place - Jamie Keat

BC4

bc4medals

  • Gold - Evie Edwards (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • Silver - Lewis Hammans (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • Bronze - Harry Thompson (Qualifies for UK Championships)
  • 4th place - Penny Froude

The UK Championships take place Friday 8th June - Sunday 10th June at sportscotland Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre

Good Luck to all the qualifiers!

Workforce Manager Maternity Cover

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Natalie Braisby, Workforce Manager, will be on maternity leave as of Wednesday 23 May.

We're pleased to welcome Becci Carter into the team on 30 May as Natalie's maternity cover.

While Natalie is on maternity leave, please send any enquiries as below or call the office directly on 0115 9678455.

  • Volunteering, officiating, coaching, courses -
    Becci Carter, Workforce Manager (maternity cover from 30th May); rcarter@bocciaengland.org.uk

  • Heathcoat Cup, BE Cup, League - Rachael Crack, Competition Manager; rcrack@bocciaengland.org.uk

  • Club Development - Rachel Miller, Development Manager; rmiller@bocciaengland.org.uk

  • General enquiries, shop, course certificates - Suze Wakefield, Business Support; info@bocciaengland.org.uk

Natalie remains in post as Volunteer Manager for the 2018 BISFed World Championships. Emails and correspondence around this event will be checked and responded to periodically by Natalie.

Thank you

2018 Boccia Awards Winners

Congratulations go to all of the 2018 Boccia Award Winners!

The 2018 Boccia Awards are a celebration of sporting achievements in our sport.

The Boccia awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of our athletes, coaches, officials and clubs across England between 1st January 2017 – 31st December 2017.

Mike Walker chair of the Boccia England Board said: "The Boccia Awards this year are recognising some extremely dedicated and inspirational individuals and we are extremely proud of their achievements in Boccia throughout 2017. Alongside these winners, it is important to mention the many nominees who allowed me, as the new chair of Boccia England, to see the vast range of sporting talent and commitment there is within Boccia. Every nomination told an amazing story of determination and achievement. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next for each of these incredible ambassadors of our sport”.

We received a really high number of nominations this year and the judging panel had a tough task to choose winners for each of the following categories:

  • Athlete of the year
  • Official of the year
  • Coach of the Year
  • Club of the Year

The panel chose the following winners, who will receive their awards at upcoming Boccia England events.

Athlete of the Year 2018 – Alfie Yates

Alfie is a very promising young athlete who his nominator described as “diligent beyond his years”. He is an excellent communicator with amazing levels of motivation to help him produce some great performances. In 2017 Alfie had a great season in which he became a Gold medallist at the National Heathcoat Cup and helped his National Boccia League team, Jorvik, take the national title. As if this wasn’t enough, Alfie went on to become the youngest player to be selected for the England Performance Group in 2017. For such a young athlete these achievements are a sign of even greater performances to come.

When hearing about winning the award Alfie said “It was completely unexpected — It came out of nowhere. I feel so very pleased to have become the ‘Boccia Athlete of the Year 2018’ to be honest just saying those 6 exciting words it pretty cool. It feels epic!”

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Officials of the Year 2018 – Anne Cradock and Tim Cradock

Anne and Tim Cradock are very familiar faces at Boccia events across the country and in 2017 they maintained their constant support. Anne and Tim are very experienced officials and are always on hand to share their knowledge with newer officials or volunteers. Several nominators took the time to say how they were welcomed to the sport by both Anne and Tim and this welcome ensured they stayed within the sport. Over 2017 Anne and Tim supported National events including the BE cup, UK Championships and the Special Olympic National Games but they also volunteered at local open competitions in which their passion and enthusiasm for the sport was inspirational to new players, coaches and volunteers.

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Anne Cradock said “We are honoured and delighted to have been jointly awarded the ‘Boccia Official of the Year for 2018.’ Our Boccia family have been with us on our officiating journey as we have learned and developed in confidence and knowledge. We would like to thank all of you for both your support and your friendship”.

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Tim Cradock added to this saying “Wow, honoured and delighted, thank you”.

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Coach of the Year 2018 – Martin Cook

Martin is passionate about providing sporting opportunities for the disabled. Martin runs a Boccia club at Victoria Education Centre, a special school for disabled students aged 3 – 19. Not only does he coach these club sessions but the students know they can come any lunch-time and Martin will help them train. Alongside this Martin is a volunteer at the Victoria Community Boccia Club which has attracted many past students as well as people new to the sport of Boccia. Martin regularly gives up weekends to further his coaching skills and recently completed his Level 2 qualification. Martin travels to competitions all over the country to support students at the school and members of the Community Boccia club. While at these competitions Martin has even been known to help the competitors by offering coaching tips if he feels he can help. A true asset to the sport of Boccia.

Club of the Year 2018 – Improving Lives Plymouth Boccia Club

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Improving Lives Plymouth Boccia Club go above and beyond ‘providing an activity’ and work hard at developing their club and their sport. The club provides fully open and inclusive community boccia sessions where anyone is welcome. The focus is not just on sport and competition, at ILP Boccia Club the sessions are fun, social and enjoyable. The Club developed from small beginnings, starting in a local community centre the club now runs two sessions a week with 20 – 30 regular players attending every week. These are impressive numbers and within 2017 alone 117 different people took part in weekly Boccia sessions. Alongside the club sessions volunteers often go into the community to provide Boccia to those who cannot access a formal club. The club has also recently organised tournaments for teams from around the region to compete in. ILP not only have a very strong club but their work in the local community will allow Boccia to reach many more people.

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THE LESLIE MARTIN MEMORIAL CUP

Thank you to Mark from Boccia Sheffield for sharing the below:

On 13th May 2018, the Leslie Martin Memorial Cup took place at Talbot Specialist School in Sheffield to remember a legend of the boccia family.

Leslie Martin sadly passed away in November 2017 and to celebrate his life a teams boccia competition took place in his honour. Twelve teams came from far and wide, including; Boccia Sheffield, Sheffield Smashers, Nottingham, Durham, Smile Through Sport, Greenbank Giants, Chesterfield, Knights Academy, Jorvik and First York.

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All of the teams did a lap of honour to 'High Ho Silver Lining' to show their respect to Leslie and remember him for the loud and proud player that he was. The teams competed hard all day and there was some fantastic boccia on offer. Eventually though it came down to the final 4 teams; Sheffield, First York, Nottingham and Knights. After some brilliant semi finals the two finalists were the Knights and Nottingham. Having played brilliant all day, Nottingham came through as eventual Champions taking away the first Leslie Martin Memorial Cup.

The day was made complete with Leslie's brother, Kyle Martin handing out the medals and the trophy to all of the medalists. A fitting tribute to an amazing day.

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A huge thank you must go to all the volunteers that came from far and wide to support the competition, thanks go to;

  • Ian Woodward
  • Rachel Miller
  • Anne Cradock
  • Tim Cradock
  • Liz Moulam
  • Jenni Wade
  • Gareth Brown
  • Bob Lathbury
  • Jenna Cookson
  • Viv Lathbury
  • Carrie Briggs
  • Barrie Smith
  • Callum Annakin
  • and many more throughout the day

The competition was a huge success and it keeps Leslie Martin's memory living on through boccia.

Thank you to everyone that competed on the day.

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS LAUNCHES LEGACY

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS LAUNCHES LEGACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN LIVERPOOL

BISFed

With 100 days to go until the BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships in Liverpool, Paralympic gold medallist David Smith MBE today unveiled a £32,000 legacy masterplan to improve the lives of local people with disabilities.

Funded by Sport England, the investment aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Liverpool. David Smith, who was also on hand today to deliver a boccia masterclass to local club Greenbank Giants and pupils from Broadgreen International School

“It’s fantastic that the World Championships will be hosted in Liverpool. But it’s really important that, long after the final ball is played, there is a legacy of local people with disabilities feeling inspired and more confident to try out the sport of boccia.”

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The funding will be invested into establishing a brand new boccia club in the centre of the city. Boccia England will be working with local partners to deliver ‘come and try’ sessions in a range of community settings as well as attending local disability sport festivals and events. Competitive opportunities will also be set up so that players can thrive and improve in the sport. Meanwhile, there will also be a drive to recruit and train local volunteers to support the World Championships as well as future local events and activities.

And while the world’s best boccia players will be competing for World Championship titles, beginners and those curious to try out the sport themselves will be able to get involved in taster sessions every day at the event.

“Even though boccia is a Paralympic sport, many people don’t even know it exists,” adds Smith. “So we’ll be using the World Championships as a shop window for the sport to get word out there and raise awareness because boccia is a huge lifeline for people with disabilities like mine – it improves coordination, strength and it is a great way to meet people and be sociable.”

Local schools will also be ringing the bell for boccia. The Boccia Skills Award will help pupils develop innovation, responsibility, resilience, communication and evaluation.

Pupil

Chris Ratcliffe, CEO of Boccia England, explains what the funding means to the sport:

“When we were bidding to host the World Championships, we always knew we wanted to ensure that this was not just a major world class event where the people of the City of Liverpool could come and see the best players from around the globe in action, but also an opportunity for the local community to try out the sport for themselves.

“We are committed to ensuring that the people of Liverpool take boccia to their hearts and that’s why we’ll be setting up a new club in the city, visiting care homes, schools and communities to deliver ‘come and try’ sessions as well as recruiting and training new volunteers.”

Phil Smith, Sport England’s Director of Sport, said: “We’re delighted to support the World Boccia Championships with National Lottery funding to engage the local community. Boccia is a superb game where disabled people can get more active while having great fun and the World Championships in Liverpool will bring the sport to a wider audience.”

Chair of Boccia UK John Dowson explained:

“We are gearing up to the stage the best BISFed World Boccia Championships ever seen; a truly memorable experience for players and spectators. I am thrilled that the seven days of World class action will be running side by side with a grassroots, legacy programme set to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Liverpool.”

Liverpool’s Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “We are committed to making it easy for everyone to access sport, and aim to breakdown any barriers which may prevent disabled people from taking up an activity.

“The Boccia World Championships is one of the highlight sporting events of our Liverpool 2018 programme, and we are pleased to be able to shine a spotlight on this competitive activity which will have a tangible legacy in Liverpool.

“Opportunities such as this will build youngster’s confidence and encourage them to try something new and hopefully we will unearth the next generation of Boccia champs!”

David Hadfield, President of Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed), said:

“I am so pleased with how the planning and delivery for the World Championships in Liverpool is progressing. Athletes around the world are looking forward to being able to perform in what will be a quite spectacular venue. If you have not yet bought your tickets, I encourage you to do so and be prepared to be amazed by some of the most exciting sport available this summer.”

Hear what Paralympic gold medallist David Smith MBE and organisers have to say here

The World Championships – which is funded by The National Lottery - is set to attract 190 players from 33 countries to Exhibition Centre Liverpool from the 12-18 August 2018. Athletes will battle it out for world titles, as well as crucially important ranking points ahead of the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020.

2018 World Boccia Championships has been made possible thanks to UK Sport’s National Lottery funding through its Major Events Programme.

You can purchase tickets here

(Individual Competition: 12th – 15th August
Team and Pairs Competition: 16th – 18th August)